BPB gets their fingers out on what should happen with PINs


Now that the BPB has cleaned up the vast backlog of complaints against private certifiers, they have finally got their act together to flesh out processes for the issuing of PINS against accredited certifiers - whether they be private certifiers or accredited Council employees.

In October they released advice on the Penalty infringement notices and a PINs policy and procedure titled “Issuing of penalty infringement notices to accreditation holders: Policy and procedures”. 

The BPB has had the power since 2009 or so to issue penalty infringement notices for a variety of offences.  Those offences are all listed in the Building Professionals Regulation 2007 (effective 2009) and the relevant sections of the BPB Act where penalty notices can be issued are sections 58(2), 60(1) and (2), 61(1), (2) and (3), 64(2), 66(1), 72, 73, 74 (1) and 85 (1).

Before anyone gets too excited, as far as we are aware there have been neither any investigation, nor any finding against council accredited staff despite Council employees being accredited since 2008/2009.  That doesn’t surprise us, we know that Council employees do a good job and that the backlog of complaints were all private certifiers with less interest in disclosure, record keeping, proper process and managing conflicts of interest.

Members who are accredited with the BPB need to see these documents and be aware of the risks.  Not all of those sections apply to Council employees - for example, while councils are obliged to provide insurance under section 63, if the Council decided no longer to insure them, accredited employees are obliged under section 61 to notify the Board.  Well, durr. 

While we hate the system of accreditation of council staff, because it creates parallel accountability with an employee’s employer as well as the Board, because of the absence of any investigation or penalty being imposed on Council employees, it’s been hard to argue that there should be an allowance paid by the employer for the additional accountability and risk. 

Since 2010 in the Award we have had leave reserve provisions to allow us to argue “to vary the Award consistent with the principles of the Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales in relation to the accreditation of employees by the Building Professionals Board” but because we have no evidence of any additional accountability beyond the simple process of accreditation, or the risks associated with reduced accreditation levels or penalty notices for offences, because nothing like that has happened, it remains as a leave reserved provision.

We regularly have to tell members that we can only get some action happening in this area if the BPB slammed a council employee, reduced their accreditation level or fined them - giving us some real evidence of the downside of BPB accreditation so that we can actually do something about it. 

But we’d rather have no evidence, wouldn’t you?  Or a non-member of ours getting slammed, would be perfect.

Nevertheless, we haven’t met with the BPB for a long time and it makes sense for us to do so early in the New Year for a catch up.

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